Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger

Donna DiMaggio Berger

Think you know what community association life is all about? Think again. Residents must obey the rules, directors must follow the law, and managers must keep it all running smoothly! Take It to the Board explores the reality of life in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, what’s really involved in serving on its board, and how to maintain that ever-so-delicate balance of being legally compliant and community spirited. Leading community association attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger acknowledges the balancing act without losing her sense of humor as she talks with a variety of association leaders, experts, and vendors about the challenges and benefits of the community association lifestyle. If you've got questions, Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger - We Speak Condo & HOA! read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

From Chaos to Order: Tips from a Decluttering Pro on Hoarding and Maintaining Your Association’s Records
Jul 3 2024
From Chaos to Order: Tips from a Decluttering Pro on Hoarding and Maintaining Your Association’s Records
Are you struggling with a hoarder in your association and need practical advice? Do your Association’s books and records need some attention now that new laws in Florida require them to be kept in an "organized fashion"? Tune in to "Take it to the Board" with Donna DiMaggio Berger as she unpacks these issues with a seasoned pro in organizing-Brenda Borenstein from Organized Zone.Donna and Brenda explore effective organizing principles such as thinking vertically and sorting by category. They also address the mental health challenges associated with hoarding and the critical role of legal counsel in ensuring compliance with governing documents. Brenda shares her insights on identifying and sensitively addressing hoarding issues that disrupt community life, from crammed units to stuffed garages and storage units all of which can create severe health and safety risks for the homeowner and neighboring units/homes as well. Brenda provides a strategic approach to tackle emotionally charged tasks, such as cleaning out a family member’s home after they pass away. Discover how tools like Google Lens can help identify valuable items and learn about using auctions to offset cleanup costs.  They also address the sensitive topic of transitioning elderly parents to safer living environments and overcoming their resistance to change. Additionally, they tackle the challenges of downsizing and organizing living spaces when moving from larger homes to smaller, more manageable ones. They offer practical tips on selecting meaningful items to create a comfortable new environment while minimizing trauma for the client.Tune in to learn how upping your organizational game can significantly reduce stress and enhance productivity. Conversation highlights include:The process of organization from start to finishHoarding vs. collecting or being disorganizedCommon signs someone might be a hoarderTips for the association board or manager to approach residents suspected of hoardingSuccessful strategies or interventions implemented in hoarding situationsBrenda’s philosophy on getting organizedBONUS: Find out how Brenda hosts regular dinners for 20 guests in her 850 sq. foot home!
Revolutionizing Coastal Defense, 3D-Printed Living Seawalls with Anya Freeman of Kind Designs
Jun 19 2024
Revolutionizing Coastal Defense, 3D-Printed Living Seawalls with Anya Freeman of Kind Designs
The recent flooding in South Florida makes today's episode of Take It To The Board particularly timely.  Anya Freeman, the visionary founder of Kind Designs, sits down with host Donna DiMaggio Berger to explain her groundbreaking approach to protecting our coastal properties and shorelines. Anya explains how her 3D-printed Living Seawalls mimic natural marine habitats like mangrove roots. Not only do these seawalls offer structural stability and cost-effectiveness, but they also enhance marine ecosystems by providing habitats for marine life and sequestering carbon. Donna and Anya discuss the materials used, the large-scale 3D printing process, and how Anya’s groundbreaking work caught the eye of entrepreneur Mark Cuban, whose investment helped scale up production and expand her team.Donna and Anya dive into real-world applications of these living seawalls in coastal cities such as Miami and New Orleans, showcasing their adaptability and long-term benefits. They also address common concerns from homeowners’ associations about costs and permitting, illustrating how successful projects like the Jockey Club in Miami have navigated these challenges. Additionally, they discuss the aesthetic appeal of incorporating public art into seawall designs, making them not just functional but also visually captivating and compliant with city regulations. Don't miss this episode if you're curious about how your community can benefit from the innovation shaping the future of our coastlines and the entrepreneurial spirit propelling these advancements.Conversation highlights include:How living seawalls differ from traditional seawall designsThe inspiration for the Living Seawall, and challenges during developmentHow Living Seawalls benefit community associations Ecological impact of Living SeawallsThe 3D printing processRegulatory challenges associated with installing Living SeawallsAdvice for community association leaders considering a Living Seawall for coastal or waterfront propertiesBONUS: Learn about Anya's entrepreneurial family and why Anya is a such a big fan of the USA!
A Lobbyist's Lens: A Bird's Eye View of the Legislative Process, Community Advocacy and Condo Law with Lobbyist Travis Moore of Moore Relations, Inc.
Jun 5 2024
A Lobbyist's Lens: A Bird's Eye View of the Legislative Process, Community Advocacy and Condo Law with Lobbyist Travis Moore of Moore Relations, Inc.
Host Donna DiMaggio Berger takes listeners behind the curtain of Florida's legislative process with lobbyist Travis Moore of Moore Relations, Inc. to uncover what lobbyists do, how they do it, and why community association leaders and residents need to know about this process. Together, they discuss the often misunderstood role of lobbying in shaping laws that impact community associations across the Sunshine State. From the financial burdens of campaigning to the vital need for grassroots involvement, Donna and Travis provide an insider's perspective on navigating the political labyrinth while revealing the delicate balance between public perception and the reality of advocating for meaningful changes.Donna and Travis dissect the complexities of Florida’s new condominium and homeowner association legislation, including the challenge of maintaining safety standards and the strenuous demands placed on volunteer condo boards and owners. The importance of transparency, fiduciary duties, and the potential pitfalls of legislative overreach come to light, highlighting the consequences of hastily enacted laws without thorough consideration of varied regional needs.They also strip down the legislative process to its nuts and bolts, with HOA legislation as a blueprint. From the initial drafts to the strategic power plays within the House and Senate, the journey of a bill is laid bare. This episode promises a deep and enlightening exploration of the political and personal intersections that shape community living in Florida. Conversation Highlights Include:Key pieces of legislation affecting condominiums and HOAs in Florida The lobbying process, from conception to enactment, for community association legislationHow to balance the interests of different stakeholdersLobbying challenges for condominium and HOA-related legislationTrends emerging in condominium and HOA lawAdvice for boards or property managers who want to be more involved in the legislative process
The Do's and Don'ts of Association Committees with Becker’s Ken Direktor
May 22 2024
The Do's and Don'ts of Association Committees with Becker’s Ken Direktor
Does your association have committees? Do you find them to be a helpful addition to association operations or a harmful "shadow board" with the potential to create liability for the association, its directors, and members? Host Donna DiMaggio Berger sits down with Ken Direktor, Chair of Becker’s Community Association practice, to peel back the curtain on the inner workings of committees: the good, the bad and the ugly. The following committees are discussed in this episode:  Fining/Grievance; Architectural Control; Landscaping; Social/Entertainment; Document Rewrites; Budget; Neighborhood Watches and more. Find out which of these committees are vital to your community and which may be more problematic than they're worth.From the dynamics of issuing fines to planning social events, they break down the landscape of community governance, discussing the pivotal roles committees play and how to craft them for success. This episode doesn't just stop at the nuts and bolts of committee operation—Donna and Ken dive deep into the concerns that hold back potential volunteers, like the looming fear of litigation and the sacrifice of personal time. They look at protective measures such as insurance and a trustworthy attorney that can help mitigate risks in connection with these volunteer roles. They also dissect new Florida legislation, including changes to document inspections, to help associations navigate these murky waters with transparency and diligence.Whether you're a seasoned board member or a curious resident, this episode promises an enlightening journey through the challenges and triumphs of committee service.Conversation Highlights Include:Best practices when creating any type of committee Notice and transparency requirements for different types of committeesStanding committees vs. discretionary committeesDifficulties in getting volunteers for the Fining/Grievance CommitteeLiabilities associated with committeesNew Florida legislation and changes to document inspectionsBonus: Find out Ken’s hidden talent!
The Benefits of “Umbrella Organizations” with Brickell Homeowners Association’s President, Ernesto Cuesta
May 8 2024
The Benefits of “Umbrella Organizations” with Brickell Homeowners Association’s President, Ernesto Cuesta
When it comes to community associations, joining forces under a voluntary "umbrella organization" often proves more beneficial than going it alone. Members reap the rewards of shared knowledge, vendor connections, advocacy, and educational resources. In this week's episode of Take It To The Board, host Donna DiMaggio Berger sits down with Ernesto Cuesta, President of the Brickell Homeowners Association (BHA), to share his insights and experiences and hopefully empower other communities to grow stronger together. From casual meetups to formal meetings, Donna and Ernesto dive into how to find and create umbrella groups and the benefits of becoming involved with one.  Ernesto reflects on BHA’s modest beginnings and formative years, offering invaluable lessons on forging a strong and proactive neighborhood alliance. Donna and Ernesto also spotlight the essential role of education and mentorship in cultivating the next generation of community advocates. To that degree, they discuss Florida's new mandate on board member education, specifically its impact on the dynamics of condominium governance. This episode is not just a look back but a forward-facing conversation about continuous improvement and active participation. Discover the blueprint for building community cohesion and how a collective commitment can shape the future of any area.The BHA was founded in 1990 and represents condominium communities from Miami River to Rickenbacker Causeway and from Biscayne Bay on the East to SW 3rd Ave. on the West, representing thousands of residents and partnering with scores of businesses, corporations, public associations, stores, restaurants, and other amenities that share the common goal of improving the quality of life for the Brickell community. Conversation highlights include:Creation of the Brickell Homeowners Association How to create an Umbrella Organization of HOAs and CondominiumsThe financial model of an umbrella organization and how funds are raised, allocated, and managedChallenges member communities face Communication channels and resources used by BHAErnesto's Top Tips for community association advocacy
Cooking Up Community Connection with Tim and Lara Boyd of Mustard Seed Bistro
Apr 24 2024
Cooking Up Community Connection with Tim and Lara Boyd of Mustard Seed Bistro
Food does more than just tantalize your taste buds—it can also weave communities together and ignite change. In this episode, host Donna DiMaggio Berger is joined by Tim and Lara Boyd from Mustard Seed Bistro in Plantation to explore how simple community cookouts can spark vital conversations and foster collaboration. They discuss how providing refreshments at gatherings like board and membership meetings often cultivates a more positive atmosphere. Many community associations feature amenities such as restaurants, cafes, breakfast bars, and barbecue stations near pools. Even in communities without these services, dining out remains a cherished social activity. Tim and Lara share insights from their experiences in the restaurant industry, discussing how they balance family life with business demands and address post-COVID challenges reshaping the dining scene. From adapting lunch routines to managing increased expenses, they delve into the strategies that keep their restaurant thriving. Whether you're a culinary enthusiast or a business professional, this episode promises a hearty dose of inspiration for your next community or corporate gathering. Conversation highlights include:What inspired Tim and Lara to open their first restaurant Challenges in dealing with outside partners and finicky customersWhere they draw culinary inspirationChallenges in running a restaurant together as a coupleHow Covid changed the restaurant industryYelp and other reviewsStrategies for keeping talentSustainability practices BONUS: Find out if you have what it takes to open your own restaurant!
Crafting and Protecting Your Community’s Trademark with Becker’s Valeria Angelucci
Apr 10 2024
Crafting and Protecting Your Community’s Trademark with Becker’s Valeria Angelucci
Has your association ever faced the challenge of a shadow website or social media page imitating your own? Have you discovered your community's name being used by a business entity without permission? Host Donna DiMaggio Berger, along with guest Valeria Angelucci from Becker’s Corporate Practice, shed light on these common issues. Despite their prevalence, the solution for both prevention and resolution is often just one registered trademark away!Donna and Valeria reveal how to safeguard intellectual property for community associations, particularly their names and logos. They explore the intricacies of intellectual property, emphasizing the crucial function trademarks serve in preserving the identity of your association. They also share insights into crafting distinctive branding, with real-life examples, including renowned brands like Nike and Lululemon.Donna and Valeria discuss the expenses and enforcement associated with trademark registration, providing practical advice for addressing inquiries from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They highlight how a well-protected trademark can forge a stronger sense of community. Whether you're a seasoned manager or a newcomer to community associations, this conversation is an essential guide to mastering the landscape of trademarks.Conversation highlights include:Differences between trademarks, copyrights, and patentsSteps and costs involved in the trademarking process for community associationsLimitations or restrictions on what can be trademarked Legal implications for community associations if their names or logos are not properly trademarked How community associations can enforce their trademark rights if they discover infringementAlternatives to trademarking
Everything You Need to Know About Concrete Restoration Projects with Alessandra Bianchini, of Carousel Development and Restoration Inc.
Mar 27 2024
Everything You Need to Know About Concrete Restoration Projects with Alessandra Bianchini, of Carousel Development and Restoration Inc.
At some point, every building will require concrete repairs and restoration. If you've ever undertaken a concrete restoration project, you're aware of the many challenges they entail:  substantial costs, lengthy time delays, irritation over hurricane shutters, windows and doors, uncooperative owners and the potential for incidental damage. Host Donna DiMaggio Berger sheds light on these projects with guest Alessandra Bianchini, Vice President and General Counsel of Carousel Development and Restoration Inc.  Alessandra is the fourth generation of her family to be in the construction industry, and in this episode of Take It To The Board, she does a deep dive into how contractors typically handle these large projects and what your community can expect from start to finish on a concrete restoration. Their conversation on balcony restoration gets down to brass tacks on every front—from the necessity of removing every last tile to address spalling, to the legal hurdles faced when trying to gain access to units. They also tackle worker safety measures, the importance of expert counsel, and offer advice for associations gearing up for significant inspections. As Donna and Alessandra reveal, it's not just about finding the right team; it's about peace of mind. Join them for a conversation that could provide valuable insights for your community's next major restoration endeavor.Donna and Alessandra also discuss how increasingly violent weather patterns and climate change can impact the maintenance needs and structural integrity of concrete buildings and also unpack the importance of clear, consistent communication and detailed planning when undertaking concrete repairs in an occupied building. They share best practices for ensuring minimal disruption while keeping association residents in the loop and (mostly) happy during these vital projects.Conversation highlights include: Best practices for work crews doing concrete repair and restoration in occupied buildingsWhat causes concrete to deteriorate and how long that process typically takes Best practices for re-installing tile or other coverings on balconies, post-concrete restorationThe point at which a building is no longer a candidate for restorationImpact of climate change on the structural integrity of buildingsTrends and innovations in concrete restoration technology and techniques
Understanding How to Handle your Association's Insurance Claim with Public Insurance Adjuster Ken Shriberg
Mar 13 2024
Understanding How to Handle your Association's Insurance Claim with Public Insurance Adjuster Ken Shriberg
Various types of casualty events, including fires, floods, explosions, windstorms, and even the unavoidable burst water pipe, will likely occur at some point in your community's lifespan which means your board will have to submit an insurance claim. That process can make your association feel as if you're going through a second disaster while you're trying to recover from the first one. Host Donna DiMaggio Berger and guest Ken Shriberg, a public insurance adjuster with a track record for turning underwhelming settlements into substantial lifelines, will arm you with the knowledge to face insurance challenges head-on. Donna and Ken walk through the hidden damages that can derail recovery efforts, emphasizing the significance of exhaustive inspections and the transformative impact a public adjuster can have on your recovery. They recount real-life tales from the field, illustrating how an eagle-eyed adjuster can turn a modest $2 million claim into a $28 million game-changer, emphasizing the importance of expert evaluations in rectifying overlooked destruction.Donna and Ken also tackle the often-overlooked challenges that association boards face, from understanding convoluted insurance policies to the art of negotiation, and how these hurdles can impact the rebuilding process. They debunk the 10X sales mentality, advocating for collaboration and exceptional customer service as the cornerstones of a successful recovery. By the episode's end, you'll be equipped with a view of how seasoned professionals, from adjusters to attorneys, play a pivotal role in guiding communities through the aftermath of casualty events, ensuring a fair and comprehensive path to restoration.Conversation highlights include:How the role of an independent public insurance adjuster differs from the insurance company's adjuster and other professionals in the insurance industryEvaluation tools used to assess the extent of damage in community association insurance claimsChallenges and issues community associations often face when dealing with insurance companies after a lossTimeline of a typical community association windstorm claim, from the initial report to the final resolutionRed flags or warning signs that community associations should be aware of when dealing with insurance claimsKey considerations for boards when selecting an insurance policy and how can they maximize their coverageWhen it's time to call in an attorney to pursue a Bad Faith Claim
Not In My Backyard! Regulating Short-Term Vacation Rentals with Texas Attorney David Schwarte
Feb 28 2024
Not In My Backyard! Regulating Short-Term Vacation Rentals with Texas Attorney David Schwarte
It’s a complex issue that is reshaping neighborhoods and communities across the country. We are talking about Airbnb, a homestay rental experience that has quickly become a major disruptor in the global hospitality industry. It’s also become a major security concern in many private residential communities, with reports of “party houses” and even crime. Host Donna DiMaggio Berger looks at the consequences for residential communities with guest David Schwarte, Texas attorney and co-founder of the Texas Neighborhood Coalition, an organization that tackles the problems associated with short-term rentals. Together, they share insights into the vacation rental trend, its impact on housing affordability, and the rise in community activism in response. David shares how he worked to persuade local government officials to exclude short-term rentals from residential neighborhoods and how he assisted community associations in using their restrictive covenants to preserve their private residential lifestyle.Donna and David explore the legislative maze that governs these rentals in Texas and beyond, drawing parallels with the situation in Florida where state-level preemption looms large. The importance of community involvement cannot be overstated, and through tales of town hall meetings and city council persistence, they spotlight the successful grassroots victory that led to change for residential neighborhoods in Arlington, Texas. Learn about the importance of strong, interconnected communities and the efforts needed to protect and fortify them. Conversation highlights include:The impact of private residential zoning laws on Airbnb Arguments of economic benefits for homeowners and local businesses Claims of a constitutional right to monetize propertiesThe role of local governments in regulating short-term rentalsHow Airbnb model impacts affordable housing How Community Associations can draft covenants to combat short-term rentals
Navigating Defamation Lawsuits and Non-Compete Clauses with Keith Grumer, of Grumer Law
Feb 14 2024
Navigating Defamation Lawsuits and Non-Compete Clauses with Keith Grumer, of Grumer Law
The topic of defamation has become more prevalent as civil discourse has eroded. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the rare board member and/or manager who has not been subject to some form of potential slander or libel throughout their course of community association service.Host Donna DiMaggio Berger sits down with the highly respected litigator Keith Grumer of Grumer Law, to guide you through the complex legal terrain surrounding defamation as well as the ubiquitous non-compete clauses managers face throughout their careers. With their help, you'll learn the differences between libel and slander, understand statutory damages in cases of libel and slander per se, and identify crucial communication strategies to avoid potential legal disputes. Donna and Keith also tackle non-compete provisions, providing insights into how these clauses bind both management professionals and the communities they serve.  Donna and Keith talk about the emotional toll board members often face when slander strikes. They examine alternatives to litigation, like the power of an apology. They also outline the critical distinction between opinion and accusation, helping board members discern when it’s time to defend their reputation and when it might be wiser to let cooler heads prevail. Finally, they dive deep into the psychological battleground of legal disputes, offering practical advice to mitigate the stress and toxicity that often accompany them. Donna and Keith emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the power of community support to stay afloat during these trying times. With a thoughtful approach to litigation, they arm you with the tools for a resilient and strategic response to the challenges that come with defending your integrity in the face of adversity.Conversation Highlights Include:Various forms of defamationDifference between libel and slanderHow damages in a defamation claim are determined and recoveredDefenses to a defamation claim, including board members’ status as limited-purpose public figuresElements of a non-compete clause for community association managersNon-competes under Florida law vs. other statesPresident Biden’s proposed ban on non-competesAdvice for potential plaintiffs and defendantsBonus: Find out what the Blue Pencil Rule is!
Everybody’s Sick: The Best Ways to Prevent Illness in a Multifamily Community with Dr. Jason Mansour of Broward Health
Jan 31 2024
Everybody’s Sick: The Best Ways to Prevent Illness in a Multifamily Community with Dr. Jason Mansour of Broward Health
Does it seem like everyone around you is coughing, sniffling, or under the weather? It’s no coincidence—we’re currently in the middle of cold and flu season. Join Donna DiMaggio Berger and guest Dr. Jason Mansour, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Broward Health, to learn the best ways to stay healthy even in shared spaces. Is loss of smell exclusive to COVID or indicative of other ailments? Donna and Dr. Mansour share how to distinguish between the common cold, flu, COVID, and RSV—without resorting to a barrage of tests. Learn how simple, everyday habits can serve as your armor against invisible threats, like Covid-19 and other viruses that could be lurking in common areas like the pool, lobby and on gym equipment. Our conversation then pivots to everyone's enemy: MOLD. Given the inevitability of water leaks in multifamily buildings, Donna and Dr. Mansour explore the silent intruder of mold.  Learn how to recognize the signs of mold in living spaces, how it can impact your health, and whether certain types pose greater risks than others.Lastly, they look at mobile health services that can make your community healthier, especially as many residents choose to age in their own homes. Listen now for pointers on staying healthy for yourself and your community. Conversation highlights include:Common health challenges people face when living in multifamily buildings, especially during flu and COVID surgesHow indoor ventilation plays a role in both preventing and spreading illnessesAreas and surfaces within multifamily buildings that residents should pay extra attention to when practicing cleanlinessHow to recognize signs of mold in living spaces Differences in types of molds and their health impactsHealth risks associated with using amenities like the pool or a gymMedical services you can bring to your communities
Practical Policies & Protocols Your Board Needs to Adopt with Claude Jennings, Jr.
Jan 17 2024
Practical Policies & Protocols Your Board Needs to Adopt with Claude Jennings, Jr.
What’s the secret to a highly functioning community association? Host Donna DiMaggio Berger and Take It To the Board's producer, Claude Jennings Jr. look back on Take It To The Board’s 2023 season and revisit some of the most important conversations about community association living while answering listener questions. Most new communities are devoid of all but the most basic policies and over the years far too many boards fail to anticipate which policies and protocols can make their jobs, as volunteers, easier. Does your community have the following policies in place and, if not, why not?Vacant Unit PolicyWater Leak PolicyHandling of Election Materials PolicyOwner Unit Renovation PolicyBoard Member Code of ConductOwner Civility CodeDirector Resignation PolicyParticipation at MeetingsDocument InspectionsLender Questionnaire PolicyDonna and Claude examine the best policies and protocols for your community association spiced up with real-life questions from Take It To The Board’s engaged listeners.  Donna also opens up about her journey into condominium law and finding balance at Becker, while Claude shares the fulfilling experiences that carved his path in media and podcasting. Listen now to learn how to maintain a community that is not only functional but harmonious.Conversation Highlights Include:Best policies and protocols to have in place, post-developer turnoverIndividual unit renovations and documentation needed to comply with safety lawsPotential property damage from vacant unitsLender questionnaires Board member eligibility and director resignationsThe biggest mistake boards and managers make when it comes to policies and protocols!Top Episodes of 2023 The Art of Negotiating the Best Telecommunication Deal for Your Community With Marcie Gershoni, President at Community Cable ConsultantsAre “55 and Older” Communities Still In Demand? What Must Be Done to Preserve Your Senior Lifestyle? An Engaging Discussion with Mark Friedman, Becker & PoliakoffThe Impact of Construction Next Door on Your Community with Katie Berkey, AICP, Becker & PoliakoffDonna DiMaggio Berger Celebrates 50th Episode with Business Attorney and Husband, Michael BergerGuns, God, and Gab - A Constitutional Analysis with Jay Roberts, Esq.
Eyes Everywhere - Understanding Community Surveillance Options with Louis DiGioia of IC Real Time
Jan 3 2024
Eyes Everywhere - Understanding Community Surveillance Options with Louis DiGioia of IC Real Time
Ever wondered how a camera can pick out a face in the crowd or if that gym security camera is a watchful guardian or an intrusive eye? Discover the intricate dance between security and privacy in our neighborhoods, as host, Donna DiMaggio Berger, sits down with guest Louis DiGioia from IC Real Time. They shed light on the advanced technology that's safeguarding our communities, from the sharpness of high-resolution cameras to the stealth of thermal imaging. Dive into the heart of today's surveillance systems and find out just how much protection they can offer to your community association, without crossing the fine line into privacy infringement.Donna and Louis dissect the nuances of surveillance in communal spaces and the crucial role of legal and insurance advice in protecting your association from potential liability. They also discuss the art of deterrence through smartly positioned signage and robust camera coverage, ensuring you're informed about the best practices for maintaining both security and peace of mind.Zooming in on the future of surveillance, they navigate through the legalities and ethics of facial recognition technology. Donna and Louis also break down the storage puzzle, evaluating network video recorders against cloud-based solutions. For community associations eyeing a surveillance upgrade, this conversation is packed with insights you simply can't afford to miss.Conversation Highlights Include:Viewing range of cameras How to address privacy concerns for cameras in common areas, like pools and gymsThe options boards have in terms of monitoring camera footageBest practices for storing recorded footageFacial recognition technology and the safeguards in place to protect privacyHow many cameras are needed for adequate security coverage and what considerations go into location decisionsNight vision technology Differences between wired and wireless security camera systems Individual doorbell cameras such as Ring or Nest in communities
Contemplating Condo Terminations with John Cadden of the Condominium Advisory Group
Dec 20 2023
Contemplating Condo Terminations with John Cadden of the Condominium Advisory Group
Is your older, cash-strapped condominium or cooperative association contemplating a termination and/or sale to a developer? The once rare ideas of a termination and sale have now become much more common as community members struggle to maintain, repair and insure older buildings. Host Donna DiMaggio Berger and guest John Cadden, from the Condominium Advisory Group and co-founder of CF Capital Holdings, discuss terminations from beginning to end and what to expect throughout the process. They tackle the legal, financial, and psychological aspects of termination, the impact of inflation, interest rates, and insurance costs, and the finite lifespan of multifamily buildings. John's extensive experience in the commercial real estate and banking industries provides insight into the developer's perspective: what grabs their attention - is it an alluring location, the flexibility of zoning codes, and/or the promise of redevelopment possibilities? Donna and John discuss the ever-changing dynamics of the real estate market which bring opportunities - and challenges - including the challenges of dealing with investor owners and the need for clear communication channels to facilitate membership approval.Donna and John also examine the vital role of the board plays in the termination process: should they remain neutral or passionate advocates for the deal? While providing practical advice for managers and boards, they look at the factors that would encourage a group of owners to consider soliciting offers. Be prepared to come away with valuable insights to guide your journey if a possible sale is in your future. Conversation Highlights Include:How a board can best determine the market value of their property How a board can best assess an offerWhat developers can offer to make it easier for elderly or disabled residents who may have to moveThe respective roles of the board and association counsel during the termination processWhat is a condominium deconversion and how common is it?What market conditions favor condominiums versus rental buildings?The biggest challenges associated with a condominium terminationTop tips for associations evaluating whether a termination and sale is right for them
The B Word: Bankruptcy, Its Benefits and Challenges with Attorney Jeffrey Bast
Dec 6 2023
The B Word: Bankruptcy, Its Benefits and Challenges with Attorney Jeffrey Bast
This episode of Take It To The Board sheds light on a legal process that may be needed to help both struggling associations and their individual members. In these challenging economic times, more people are asking whether filing for bankruptcy protection is the right decision for an individual or a struggling community association.  Host Donna DiMaggio Berger speaks with attorney and founder of Bast Amron LLP, Jeffrey Bast about the bankruptcy process from start to finish and how it can be used as a successful strategic tool to navigate financial challenges. Jeff has practiced in the insolvency and litigation arena for 30 years.Together, Donna and Jeff dissect the implications of chapters 7, 11, and 13 of the US bankruptcy code, highlighting how Chapter 11 might serve as an unexpected lifeline for community associations wrestling with serious financial problems like soaring insurance premiums, costly statutory requirements and large damage awards resulting from litigation. They explore the unique and compelling circumstances that may prompt Homeowners Associations (HOAs), condominiums, or cooperative associations to contemplate filing for bankruptcy as a last resort. Donna and Jeff also venture into the thorny realm of involuntary bankruptcy. Picture being thrust into bankruptcy by your creditors – daunting, right? They demystify this process, highlighting the twin requirements of authority and transparency. They also look at the historical stigma attached to bankruptcy and aim to debunk the misconceptions around this legal process. This episode of Take It To The Board brings a fresh perspective to understanding bankruptcy and how a reorganization might become a more frequent option for struggling associations. The potential of a bankruptcy is not just about failure or a last resort but also about strategy, planning, and ultimately financial survival. Conversation Highlights Include:The main differences between Chapters 7, 11, and 13 of the US Bankruptcy Code and what’s best for community associations and individualsAlternative solutions to explore before considering bankruptcyHow to know when bankruptcy is your last/best resort?What type of authority does a board need to have to pursue a bankruptcy filing?What is the lasting impact of a bankruptcy on individuals and entities?What is the effect on resales within the community if there is a pending bankruptcy?Key questions your bankruptcy attorney should ask!
Show Me the Money: Investment Strategies with Michael Coady and Kenny Polcari of Slatestone Wealth
Nov 22 2023
Show Me the Money: Investment Strategies with Michael Coady and Kenny Polcari of Slatestone Wealth
Financially strapped community associations are always looking for new revenue sources but is a sound investment strategy a possible path to avoiding large budget increases or special assessments? In this episode, host Donna DiMaggio Berger, along with investment gurus Michael Coady, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer for Slatestone Wealth, and Kenny Polcari, Chief Market Strategist for Slatestone Wealth, discuss how investments can be utilized by both association boards and their residents personally as part of their overall fiscal management.  What most association boards want to know is what kind of investment vehicles are suitable for common funds; this trio takes a deep dive into low-risk investment vehicles like US treasury bonds, bank CDs, and money market funds, and how they can offer a lifeline to HOAs and condos.Their conversation also includes the benefits of making strategic banking choices particularly with regard to precious reserve funds. Donna, Kenny, and Mike also tackle the delicate subject of fraud and the huge losses it can cause while underscoring the role of checks and balances in safeguarding wealth. On a personal note, they explore the art of wealth management and diversification. What's your risk tolerance? What is your current life stage and are your expectations for amassing wealth realistic enough or ambitious enough? Michael and Kenny help us unravel how multiple factors can shape your portfolio and how you can avoid common investing pitfalls. Tune in to discover a wealth of knowledge and practical insights. We promise you, it's an investment of your time that will yield high dividends!Conversation highlights include: A popular strategy for community associations to invest its common or reserve funds and the potential re-emergence of legislation in Florida that would allow boards to invest common funds more aggressively.Types of investment products and services that community association boards should consider if they are at liberty to invest common fundsHow FDIC insurance works and how it should influence an association’s deposit strategiesThe importance of diversification in investment strategiesKey factors individuals should consider when choosing an investment advisor or firmHow the investment landscape has changed in recent years, and how investors are adapting Advice for first-time investorsBONUS: Kenny Polcari is a media personality with a global following. Can you name the shows on which he is a regular commentator?
Saving Lives in Your Community Association: Defibrillators (AEDs), Bleeding Control Kits (BCKs), and CERTs with Dr. Jason Mansour
Nov 8 2023
Saving Lives in Your Community Association: Defibrillators (AEDs), Bleeding Control Kits (BCKs), and CERTs with Dr. Jason Mansour
Does your community association have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or a Bleeding Control Kit (BCK) on hand in the worst-case scenario and do you have trained people on hand to use these devices? Do you have a gym, pickleball/tennis courts, and other recreational amenities where a cardiac event may be more likely? Are you familiar with the responsibilities and value of a volunteer Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT)? Join Donna DiMaggio Berger and guest Dr. Jason Mansour, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Broward Health, as they dive into the details of these vital life-saving tools. Learn about local ordinances that require these devices in multi-story residential buildings, how they operate, and the essential training needed for their use.In times of emergency, the choice between CPR and AED can be pivotal. Accompany Donna and Dr. Mansour on a journey into the depths of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Explore the impact of chest compressions on the heart and brain and the American Heart Association's endorsement of hands-only CPR. Dr. Mansour guides you through the differences between CPR and the use of AEDs, highlighting how a split-second decision can drastically enhance survival rates.Donna and Dr. Mansour reflect on the importance of being a good neighbor and the role of life-saving equipment in our communities, emphasizing the significance of AEDs, BCKs, and CERTs in multi-family buildings and HOAs particularly those with gyms and recreational amenities where a cardiac event becomes more likely. We guarantee you will leave with a newfound appreciation for these vital resources and their roles in our daily lives.Conversation highlights include: Necessary training for safe Defibrillator. (AED) usageRisks associated with improper AED usageWhere associations can find AED training for their employeesThe differences between using a defibrillator and performing CPRWhat a Bleeding Control Kit (BCK) is composed of, and how it functionsAdvice for CERT members to triage injuries in mass casualty situationsOther life-saving devices community association boards should consider for common areas
Pesky Critters in Your Community? Top Tips From Wildlife Expert and Trapper Todd Hardwick
Oct 25 2023
Pesky Critters in Your Community? Top Tips From Wildlife Expert and Trapper Todd Hardwick
As developers continue to build at a brisk pace, community association residents often find themselves sharing space with all types of wildlife including the good, the bad and the dangerous! What would you do if you spotted an alligator in your community pool?  How about iguanas or possums snacking on your community garden? A bear tearing through your garbage?  This week, host Donna DiMaggio Berger, is joined by Todd Hardwick, a nationally renowned wildlife expert with an astonishing 40-year career. Donna and Todd explore the difficulties of dealing with different types of wildlife in residential communities and the potential liability issues that arise should boards take no steps to intervene.In this episode, Todd gives us a gripping account of the perils wildlife can pose to humans – the diseases they can transmit, the bodily harm they can inflict and the nuisances they create that can lead to mental distress. Donna and Todd also discuss the controversial issues surrounding the exotic pet trade, impacts on insurance policies, and potential legislative measures. Tune in to this important episode and learn how to avoid undesirable interactions with dangerous wildlife and what to do if you’re confronted by a predator. Conversation highlights include:Common wildlife issues in community associationsHow to avoid undesirable interactions with dangerous wildlifeAlligators, crocodiles, and caiman-which poses the greatest risk?How to remove iguanas in the state of FloridaThe exotic pet trade and management issuesTop tips if you are confronted by an alligator, bear, or other predatorWhich animals are presumed to be harmless but actually aren'tBONUS: Learn how Todd captured a record-breaking 22-foot-long, 250-pound reticulated python that was hiding under a South Florida home!!
Boot Camp for Board Members: Army Vet, PCAM and Becker Shareholder, Howard Perl, Discusses the Benefits of Rigorous Board Member Education
Oct 11 2023
Boot Camp for Board Members: Army Vet, PCAM and Becker Shareholder, Howard Perl, Discusses the Benefits of Rigorous Board Member Education
This week, our guest and Becker Shareholder, Howard Perl, sits down with host Donna DiMaggio Berger to share his experiences as both an army veteran as well as a successful PCAM before going to law school later in life. Howard recounts his unique journey from joining the army at 17, to participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom to how his military background inspired Becker's Board Member Boot Camp, a unique military-themed board certification course. Howard's valuable insights, as both a veteran and a PCAM, are a reminder of how impactful life experiences can equip association board members and management professionals for the many challenges they face. Donna and Howard deconstruct the elements of Becker's Board Member Boot Camp and explain how they will elicit a refreshing level of interaction and engagement from volunteer board members who attend. They also highlight the importance for board members to be able to accurately prioritize community goals and to stay informed about the ever-evolving statutes and best practices in the community association industry. Tune in for an enlightening conversation with meaningful stories and tips that will equip volunteer board members and management professionals with fresh perspectives. Conversation highlights include:The most successful ways to enforce association rules and regulationsDoes Hollywood get it right when portraying Basic training in the Army?Insight into Operation Iraqi freedomHow periodic collective training can prevent and heal dysfunctional boardsWhy Becker’s Board Member Boot Camp is different from other board certification coursesWhat most boards get right and wrong!BONUS: Howard describes memorable moments during his time in Iraq.